Ops-Stars at Dreamforce Shows the Rise of Operations

November 8, 2016 Mark Emmons

It began as a modest idea. Create a gathering place for sales and marketing operations professionals so they would get more from their experience at the Dreamforce mega-conference.

But then Ops-Stars at Dreamforce grew into something else — a monster. The inaugural event at this year’s Dreamforce was an instant hit within the operations community. Held at the Trou Normand restaurant in downtown San Francisco, Ops-Stars drew:

  • 1,736 registrants
  • 507 attendees
  • Rave reviews

“This was one of the best things I attended at Dreamforce,” wrote one attendee in a survey where 98 percent of respondents said they would definitely attend another Ops-Stars event. “I really hope to attend (and participate in speaking) in the future.”

Part of the idea behind Ops-Stars is to foster a sense of community among operations pros and help them cast aside their “unsung hero” status. In fact, there already is a growing recognition that they are instrumental in driving success as organizations increasingly rely on a data-driven process to increase revenue.

“It was great to bring sales operations people all together in one place,” said Brian Birkett, the vice president of sales at LeanData. “We consistently had heard that the content at Dreamforce is watered down and not very helpful for practitioners. So it was amazing to see thoughtful minds really digging into issues that Sales Ops deal with every day.”

The centerpiece of the event was a powerhouse list of speakers. And if you couldn’t make the event, don’t worry. We have brief recaps of the sessions and links to the presentations below.

“When you look at these videos,” Birkett added, “you’re going to take away actionable ideas that can help your business.”







Joe Ort, head of Sales Ops, SiriusDecisions

Title: “Forecasting Success at SiriusDecisions”
Theme: How research-leader SiriusDecisions built a best-practice forecasting model for the business.
Key takeaway: “We all make decisions based on rep forecasts. So what can we do to make sure that we’re making the best decisions possible? And how do we avoid making bad decisions?”

David Aguilar, director of sales operations, Invoca

Title: “Sales Operations and ABM Structure”
Theme: How Invoca invested in technology like DataFox to create the best process for effective Account-Based Marketing.
Key takeaway: “There are key pillars when building your Account-Based Marketing strategies. . . . If you don’t have the right technologies, it’s going to fall flat on its face. We’ve gone through that process and seen what works and what doesn’t work.”

Sales Operations Panel Discussion

Title: ”How Sales Ops Drives a Repeatable, Scalable, Successful Sales Process”
Theme: Pete Kazanjy, founder of Modern Sales Pros, led a lively discussion with Google’s Mayukh Chowdhury, MemSQL’s Dhiraj Singh, LeanData’s Christine Maxey and MongoDB’s Jason Paquette that explored the growing importance of sales operations.
Key Takeaway: “Many Sales Ops people came to the role accidentally, but I’ve been observing in the market that organizations are not doing this by accident anymore. They’re looking at the success of this role and as a result, we’re seeing a rise in the profile of Sales Operations.”

Tom Pae, sales enablement manager, Slack

Title: “Sales Enablement at a Startup”
Theme: A unique look at getting the most out of a new sales team from the fastest growing startup in history.
Key takeaway: “Think about what happens without sales enablement — particularly at a startup. There isn’t a formal onboarding process. We ask people to follow someone and then hope and pray that they learn by osmosis and not replicate bad habits.”

Chad T. Dyar, director of sales operations, Greenhouse

Title: “The Rise of the Productivity Manager on the Sales Ops Team”
Theme: How the productivity manager has become instrumental to a strong revenue-generation machine.
Key takeaway: “We realized that we needed a lot more than just a sales trainer. It’s been a big win in our organization to have this role.”

Nick Ezzo, vice president of demand generation, Host Analytics

Title: “Combining the Power of Predictive Analytics and Lead Management”
Theme: Host Analytics doubled revenue by leveraging the technologies of Infer and LeanData together.
Key Takeaway: “I can think of very few situations where I’ve had two vendors work together. People don’t usually think like this, and I don’t know why. They should.”

Doug Landis, chief storyteller, Box

Title: “Increasing Your Reps’ Engaged Selling Time”
Theme: We know more about our prospects than ever before, yet reps are spending less time actually selling. That’s why measuring Engaged Selling Time is so important.
Key Takeaway: “In today’s world, every minute matters. The average salesperson spends about 25 percent of their time on what I call Engaged Selling. That’s it. The question is what the heck is everybody doing with the other 75 percent of their time? And what can we do to improve that?”

Jen Spencer, vice president of sales and marketing, Allbound

Title: “Stacking on a Solid Foundation”
Theme: How Allbound reached $1 million in revenue in less than a year using a customer-centered sales and marketing strategy.
Key takeaway: “The problem today is the technology stack out there is supporting a siloed approach. Today’s customer demands a more connected, more harmonious ecosystem. People don’t necessarily care who they buy from. They just want their problem solved so they can do their job better.”

Craig Rosenberg, co-founder and chief analyst, TOPO

Title: “Setting the Stage for Sales Success”
Theme: Creating a detailed sales playbook provides structure and guidance for getting the most out of the entire team.
Key Takeaway: “We all know how important it is to have a sales process. But we don’t know how to execute it, or have the resources or the time. . . . Sales leaders always know that they can do better.”

Trish Bertuzzi, president and chief strategist, The Bridge Group

Title: “The Hottest Job in Sales Today”
Theme: How insides sales teams are helping organizations build repeatable pipeline and accelerate growth.
Key Takeaway: “It doesn’t matter if you have sales development, it matters how you implement sales development.”

Kristina Frost, manager of strategic sales operations, Elastic

Title: “How Elastic Uses Customer Insights to Drive the Renewal Process”
Theme: Elastic uses data and technology like Groove to craft better strategies to engage with customers.
Key takeaway: “How do I get a data-driven predictive measure of customer health? . . . If you walk into a renewal month and you don’t actually know what’s going on with that account, you don’t have enough time to save a customer if they’re not happy. Thirty days is not enough time to rescue them.”

Danita Fleck, manager of marketing operations, Gigamon

Title: “Breaking Down Barriers”
Theme: How a synergistic, collaborative approach to sales and marketing can drive greater revenue.
Key Takeaway: “Revenue is Job One. The way we maximize revenue is to share metrics. . . . We’re always working together as an organization to make sure both the marketing users and the sales users are getting value out of everything that we have in our stack.”

Renaud Bizet, director of global marketing operations , Marketo

Title: “Marketo’s Operations Journey to ABM”
Theme: How Marketo solved challenges surrounding data quality, SDR efficiency and the pursuit of enterprise accounts when moving to a large-scale ABM strategy.
Key takeaway: “Historically, Marketo has been very lead-centric. But sales is thinking about accounts. So it’s been very hard to reconcile when one side is thinking about leads and the other is thinking about accounts. As Marketo has been shifting to a system of target accounts, we had to think about ABM.”

Marketing Operations Panel Discussion

Title: ”How Marketing Ops Drives a Repeatable, Scalable, Successful Sales Process”
Theme: Sam Laber of Datanyze hosted a panel featuring Alexis Devonish of OpenDNS, Social Tables’ Ray Miller, LeanData’s Billy Huang and DataFox’s Stefan Castelan. They examined issues such as scoring and routing data, marketing attribution and communicating performance to leadership.
Key Takeaway: “We’re getting to the point where Marketing Ops can look not only into what the marketing team does but also into Sales Ops and figure out what works best for all of us.”

Cynthia Maxey, director of partnerships, Bee Partners

Title: “How Bee Partners Uses LeadGenius to Enable Their Portfolio.”
Theme: A deep dive into how LeadGenius powers sales and increases conversion rates at Bee Partners startup investments.

About the Author

Mark Emmons

Mark Emmons is the staff writer at LeanData. He previously was a reporter at the San Jose Mercury News, Orange County Register and Detroit Free Press. He can be reached at mark@leandatainc.com.

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